Final

Chargers 24

(10-2, 5-2 away)

Bills 21

(5-7, 3-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 3, 2006

Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, NY 

1 2 3 4 T
SD 10 7 0 724
BUF 0 0 14 721

Top Performers

Passing: J. Losman (BUF) - 184 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: L. Tomlinson (SD) - 28 CAR, 178 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: A. Gates (SD) - 7 REC, 90 YDS, 1 TD

Chargers' win streak hits six as Tomlinson runs wild

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- If Mother Nature couldn't slow down LaDainian Tomlinson, what chance did the Buffalo Bills have?

Tomlinson was the Chargers' ideal tonic for a blustery winter afternoon in Buffalo on Sunday, producing 178 yards rushing and two touchdowns in San Diego's 24-21 win over the Bills.

Touchdown Record
LaDainian Tomlinson
Tomlinson
With his two touchdowns against Buffalo on Sunday, San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson moved into a tie for third place for most touchdowns scored in a season.
PlayerTeamSeasonTDs
Shaun AlexanderSEA200528
Priest HolmesKC200327
Marshall FaulkSTL200026
TomlinsonSD200626**
Emmitt SmithDAL199525
Priest HolmesKC200224
John RigginsWAS198324
** through 12 games

To hear Tomlinson put it, the weather -- blowing winds and persistent flurries -- got him excited.

"You know, every once in a while it's actually fun to play in weather like this," Tomlinson said, noting these are the type conditions he enjoyed seeing on TV as a kid growing up in Texas.

"You see NFL games like in Chicago ... and the guys playing in snow and it's cold. And it kind of looks cool," Tomlinson said. "You look forward to games like this because they don't happen much."

Neither do seasons such as what Tomlinson's putting together.

With 1,324 yards rushing, Tomlinson joined Eric Dickerson as the second NFL player to reach 1,200 yards rushing in each of his first six NFL seasons. The two scores gave Tomlinson 26 for the year, inching him within two of matching the single-season record by Seattle's Shaun Alexander last year.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
The Chargers had their way with the Bills in the first half, jumping out to a 17-0 lead. Buffalo took more chances crowding the line of scrimmage to pressure Philip Rivers in the second half. San Diego imposed its will in the trenches, giving LaDainian Tomlinson room to rack up 178 yards on the ground. The Chargers defense was stingy, giving up only 63 yards rushing, sacking Losman three times and forcing three turnovers. The Bills made it close at the end but San Diego was too physical for Buffalo to come up with the upset.

Best of all, he's got the Chargers (10-2) on a six-game win streak and -- combined with Indianapolis' loss to Tennessee earlier in the day -- now sitting in a tie with the Colts for first place in the AFC.

The Bills (5-7) had a two-game win streak snapped in a game not as close as the score indicated.

Buffalo took advantage of ideal field position to score twice in the third quarter to cut San Diego's lead to 17-14. Tomlinson then sealed the victory, scoring on a 2-yard run to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 8:06 of the fourth quarter.

The Bills made it close again when J.P. Losman hit Peerless Price for a 6-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left, but Buffalo failed to recover the onside kick.

"We just didn't do enough offensively in the first half to give ourselves a chance," Bills receiver Lee Evans said.

Credit the Chargers' defense.

Sparked by linebacker Shawne Merriman's return after missing four games because of a steroid suspension, San Diego generated four turnovers and limited the Bills to 230 yards offense -- 62 coming on their final drive.

Merriman finished with six tackles, two sacks -- giving him 10½ on the season -- and forced two fumbles.

"It would've been better if it was warm," Merriman said, referring to a game-time temperature of 35. "But just to be back on the field after a month feels very good. ... When you're a game-changer, you're expected to go out there and change the game."

Tomlinson certainly ranks in that category.

Rushing Touchdown Record

With his two rushing touchdowns against Buffalo on Sunday, San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson moved into fifth place for most rushing touchdowns scored in a season.
PlayerTeamSeasonRush TDs
Shaun AlexanderSEA200527
Priest HolmesKC200327
Emmitt SmithDAL199525
John RigginsWAS198324
TomlinsonSD200623**
**through 12 games

His 51-yard score late in the first quarter set the tone, bursting through a big hole up the left side created by Lorenzo Neal's massive block. Streaking up the left sideline, Tomlinson wasn't touched until safety Ko Simpson got a hand on him near the 2.

Receiver Keenan McCardell was more impressed watching L.T. produce on the Chargers' final scoring drive.

"He puts the period to the end of the sentence of that drive," McCardell said. "Done deal."

Tomlinson's 178 yards were 5 short of a season high, and came against a defense that allowed an average 172 yards rushing in its previous four games.

His two TDs gave him 106 for his career, vaulting into 12th place on the NFL list, ahead of Tim Brown and Don Hutson.

Philip Rivers finished 17-of-29 for 160 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates, who led the Chargers with 90 yards receiving.

Buffalo tight end Robert Royal scored on a 5-yard catch, while Willis McGahee also scored on a 2-yard plunge.

The Bills failed in an attempt to produce a third straight last-minute comeback victory.

"We're just not there yet," linebacker London Fletcher said. "We don't make enough plays to beat the elite teams. We haven't done that yet. Today was an example."

Game notes


It was so cold that the NFL officials wore their new winter pants -- black with a white stripe down the side -- for the first time this year. ... Bills LB Angelo Crowell did not return after hurting his lower left leg in the first quarter. ... Chargers LB Randall Godfrey did not return after hurting his left calf in the first quarter. McCardell did not return after hurting his left calf, the same injury that forced him to miss last week's game against Oakland. ... The Chargers improved to 5-7 all-time when its 40 or colder.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SD
BUF
1st Downs1816
Passing 1st downs
911
Rushing 1st downs
95
1st downs from penalties
00
3rd down efficiency
4-138-17
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6764
Total Yards335230
Yards per play5.03.6
Total Drives1413
Passing138167
Comp-Att
17-2921-37
Yards per pass
4.34.2
Interceptions thrown
02
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-223-17
Rushing19763
Rushing Attempts
3524
Yards per rush
5.62.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-33-3
Penalties3-302-10
Turnovers24
Fumbles lost
22
Interceptions thrown
02
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession34:2325:37

Passing Leaders

SDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rivers17/291605.5103-22
BUFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Losman21/371845.0223-17

Rushing Leaders

SDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Tomlinson281786.4251
Neal382.704
BUFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Losman6264.3010
McGahee16261.615

Receiving Leaders

SDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gates79012.9126
Parker3299.7011
BUFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Reed45012.5023
Evans5459.0015

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSDBUF
sdFG9:17Nate Kaeding 42 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 34 yds, 3:52
30
sdTD1:17LaDainian Tomlinson, 51 yd run (Nate Kaeding kick is good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 59 yds, 0:34
100
SECOND QUARTERSDBUF
sdTD0:29Antonio Gates, 11 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 43 yds, 0:30
170
THIRD QUARTERSDBUF
bufTD11:39Robert Royal, 5 yd pass from J.P. Losman (Rian Lindell kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 19 yds, 2:00
177
bufTD8:15Willis McGahee, 2 yd run (Rian Lindell kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 13 yds, 1:55
1714
FOURTH QUARTERSDBUF
sdTD3:31LaDainian Tomlinson, 2 yd run (Nate Kaeding kick is good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 80 yds, 8:06
2414
bufTD0:36Peerless Price, 6 yd pass from J.P. Losman (Rian Lindell kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 62 yds, 1:56
2421